Though November was fairly warm, we are now heading into December, which could bring with it the threat of snow. Because of that, I thought I would take a few moments to review our winter weather procedures, so we are all prepared if (or when) snow does arrive.
As I approach my last official Thanksgiving as Superintendent of Conestoga Valley School District, I have had the opportunity to reflect on the many things for which we can be thankful as a school community. We have the privilege of living and working in an outstanding school district that has been built on the several critical foundations included in our mission statement, such as a well-rounded educational program and an appreciation for life-long learning.
Every year, the school board hosts two annual community forums. The fall forum’s topic changes each year, while the spring forum focuses on the next school year’s budget. This year’s fall forum will be held on Monday, Nov. 21 and will look at CV’s search for a new superintendent. Today, I invited school board president Mr. Merle Esh to share the board’s goals for this upcoming event.
Recently, our sixth grade students at Smoketown Elementary got the chance to visit BizTown, a simulated city where students learn hands-on about the free enterprise system. BizTown is a new program to CV, and all of our elementary schools will get the chance to visit this unique town during the school year.
Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives recently began discussing a new bill that would mandate yet another standardized test for students, this time in civics. The proposal would require high school students to pass a civics exam similar to the one taken by those who want to become U.S. citizens. Students would need to score a 60 out of 100 before they could graduate.
Note: Shortly after this blog was published, the Pennsylvania Department of Education announced that it was pulling the academic data from its school performance profiles for further review. The PDE said it took down the scores after it was alerted to a data accuracy issue with the Pennsylvania Value Added Assessment System scores, which are part of the SPP’s growth measure. Some school performance profile scores may change based on this data accuracy review.
Last week, The Pennsylvania Department of Education released the latest School Performance Profiles (SPPs) for all schools in the commonwealth. Some of CV’s schools saw their SPP scores improve, while others declined slightly. I want to add some context these scores and explain how the state calculates them.
It is with mixed sentiments this week that I submitted my letter of intent to retire at the end of this academic year to our School Board effective June 29, 2017. At the end of my last contract three years ago, I was eligible, but not ready to retire for a variety of personal and professional reasons. However, after 19 years in this role now and 30 years at CV, I truly believe it is time for new leadership to bring new ideas on just how much better we can become as an organization.
We’ve recently seen several news articles discussing the ongoing substitute teacher shortage. This problem does not just affect our district, but also nearly all schools on a county, state and national level.